We had the good fortune of connecting with Gianluca Boncompagni and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Gianluca, what do you attribute your success to?
Our brand, Guana Equipment, has been seeing some success mostly thanks to the fact we like to grab as many opportunities as we can. Both my business partner and I, have been people that like to get a hold of opportunities in life, which has translated onto business.
I’ve had the pleasure to live in 5 different continents over a 10 year period, and many times I changed jobs or even careers, by pursuing an opportunity that was in front of me. I learned to take calculated risks, so to speak, and make that jump onto something new and grabbing it by the horns. Every opportunity I have seen that looked exciting or promising, I took it, and I dealt with it giving it commitment and energy. Thanks to that I lost a lot of fear on moving forwards, I learned to be dynamic, proactive and keeping myself energized and focused.
Nowadays, we apply that for Guana Equipment. Someone in a new country where we don’t sell wants to try and partner up? Let’s do it. It might take time, work, effort, but let’s try it. And when we have, we’ve eventually seen success.
If we have a chance to create a new product, test it, and launch it, why not? It might be a bit out of our comfort zone, but we go for it, we want to learn, grow, offer more as a brand and business.
Is there a new marketing strategy or channel? Let’s test it, let’s learn about it, understand it, and maximize all possible channels that can get other people to know us.
I firmly believe that the biggest factor for success at a personal level and for my brand, has been about visualizing the best opportunities out there and taking them. Not procrastinating nor waiting for “the right time”, but rather jumping at them and pushing forwards to make them work.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
We started Guana Equipment 4 years ago, and it hasn’t been easy. My business partner and myself really enjoy traveling, adventures and camping. We had tested roof top tents, so we decided this was something we wanted to try. Slowly, we started getting the first models, and as they started selling we made improvements, tested what was needed and came up with the designs and features that we consider were missing.
It’s been hard, because we’ve managed to place the brand in 3 different countries, stocking in different warehouses and dealing with different time zones, languages and cultures. This, as challenging as it has been, has helped us grow and learn A LOT. Business is very different in USA as it is in Costa Rica, or even Australia.
A customer in Costa Rica might look for one thing, in USA for another. It’s hard, but it teaches you to be flexible, dynamic and prepared to pretty much any scenario.
A great challenge has been cashflow. Ever since Covid-19 hit, the logistics industry has been a nightmare. Getting stock takes a lot more time, and nowadays sea freight costs have more than tripled, meaning margins change, prices change, and cashflow changes too.
We just roll up our sleeves, work harder, more hours, and efficiently. We identify areas where we can improve or make things easier for the team, and go for them.
I think it’s been mostly our grinding and positive mentality that has helped Guana Equipment become an overlanding accessory brand that’s profitable, with a fantastic customer base.
We feed off the customer’s satisfaction and happiness. When they send us pictures of their camping setup, that’s when we all look at each other’s eyes and say: “hey, now this is nice. People have better quality time with family and friends when they use our products. We are contributing to passion, happiness and sharing. We are more than just a tent brand. We are creating a community, we are building relationships amongst people and nature”.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
There are two places or road trips I’ve taken that have had an incredible impact in my life.
The first one was around the western Australian coastline. Driving south from Perth, to Margareth River, Albany, Denmark, Esperance. A week might be a bit tight, but you can make it.
Pristine beaches with white sand and clear sea water. I’ve never, ever, seen something as beautiful. I remember we stopped at a place called Elephant Rocks, with this gigantic rocks that look like the silhouette of elephants. It was a friend and myself, alone, at that magical place, just swimming and relaxing. Cooking in our camper van or at the bbq grills you find in Aussie beaches and parks, sleeping in the van, driving to the next beautiful beach or town. Enjoying life, drinking Victoria Bitter beer.
The other trip was in the south west coast of Costa Rica. Peninsula de Osa is called. We drove 7 hours from San Jose to the last accessible beach by car in the country: Punta Banco.
We were going camping in our Guana Equipment tents, fully prepared with portable kitchens, portable shower, and all you need to be off the grid for 4 days.
That place, it was just so relaxing, so far away with nobody around. We camped there for two nights, eating chicken and burgers, grilled veggies and drinking beer all they long. We had nothing to do, and we didn’t care. We had our portbale electric fridges full of ice, so our beers were cold. We sat in a man made platform right next to the beach, someone had built this a few years ago and left it there, let nature eventually take its course and wash it away. But, despite it being a bit “roughed up” by the elements, we could sit on it, and just drink, chat and eat as we watched the waves crashing against the rocks. Then, after two days we moved further north near to a place called Drake’s Bay. We had to drive another 4 hours, cross three rivers, and we ended up at a beach called San Josecito.
Again, it was only our group there. We camped, we hiked through a small trail taking us to different beaches, and we just relaxed. It rained a lot both nights, but we stayed dry thanks to our gear. It was magical, you felt so alone, almost at the edge of the world for a second.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Firstly, my parents and family. Supported me the whole way, on every single decision I’ve made. Business wise, my business partner, we’ve been a great partnership. Then our employees, success couldn’t have happened if it was only the two of us. We’ve had the pleasure of working with great individuals, driven, smart, honest and dedicated. We have built a great, great team.